Alex Pike gave Pompey a pre-season scare and then offered his thanks to the neighbours.
The Gosport Borough boss saw his side come back from 2-0 down with two quickfire goals and it was the Vanarama National League South outfit who looked the most likely to go on and claim the win with 15 minutes to go.
I don’t think they realise that it makes a heck of a lot of difference to a club like us.Alex Pike
But even though Pike was disappointed with the way his side conceded Conor Chaplin’s late winner, the healthy attendance of 2,020 – and some significant bar takings – gave the club coffers a boost to the tune of almost £20,000.
Pike said: ‘Paul Cook said to me before the game “look Alex, I’ve got to win this game” so I knew they were going to give it everything.
‘It’s a bit disappointing we lost like that but the main thing is that I’ve got to thank Pompey, their players, the staff and the fans who turned out in their numbers.
‘I don’t think they realise that it makes a heck of a lot of difference to a club like ours.
‘They have shown that they are a true community club when they come and play teams like us.
‘I think they will do well this season. They have got a fantastic manager in Paul Cook but he understands about the game at grass roots, which is important for a club at our level.
‘Even though we lost to a late goal, I think we have to be pleased. We gave a good account of ourselves.
‘The thing you are looking for in games like this is that your team competes. And I felt we did that even when we were 2-0 down.
‘We went 2-0 down but we responded and it was pleasing that Justin Bennett and Jamie White have got on the scoresheet.
‘I was hoping we might have seen the game out from that point.
‘I was a bit disappointed we switched off and conceded the late goal.’
Pike also made an apology for the Privett Park pitch, which has not yet recovered from drainage work.
He said: ‘We apologise for the pitch because we didn’t give them a great surface to play on.
‘Hopefully, it didn’t spoil things too much.
‘The new turf had to be connected to the new drainage and it was scheduled to be done in May.
‘But now we have the sand slits because it was only partly done.’
But Pike was pleased with another step towards the new season and has now agreed a two-year deal for Ben Harding, who was a free agent after leaving Torquay last season and impressed in midfield.
Pike said: ‘I thought he deserved the man of the match. I had to see him in a game to see if he could get through 90 minutes.
‘But he is exactly the type of quality player we are trying to attract.’
Borough face more League Two opposition tonight as they host Luton Town (7.45pm).